A 27-year-old Invercargill man remains in critical condition in Dunedin Hospital after the second of two incidents within 24 hours involving motorists trying to evade police at excessive speeds in the south.
The man was a passenger in a 1993 Mazda MX6 that was driven by a 21-year-old who failed to stop for a police patrol car and hurtled into a wall in Liddel St in Invercargill about 3.30 on Saturday morning.
Southland area commander Inspector Barry Taylor said the car attracted police attention after it was seen crossing on to the wrong side of the road at the intersection of Earn and Ythan streets.
Lights and sirens were activated on the police car and at first it appeared the driver was going to stop, but he then attempted to flee, he said.
The car was driven around the block before turning on to Tweed St then on to Liddel St, heading north. The car hit a traffic island, causing damage to the vehicle, then crashed into a concrete wall on the opposite side of the road about 2.3km from the starting point.
The patrol car travelled at up to 90kmh and the offending driver went beyond that at times, crossing on to the wrong side of the road at least twice, Mr Taylor said.
The police patrol was not within viewing distance of the impact but arrived soon after and assisted both men.
Both were admitted to Southland Hospital and the driver has been released but his passenger was flown to Dunedin Hospital on Saturday afternoon. He remains in critical condition in the intensive care unit, with head injuries.
Mr Taylor said neither was wearing a seatbelt.
It was unknown whether alcohol was a factor but a blood sample had been taken from the driver.
"This is yet another example of a driver making a poor decision and failing to comply with a police request to stop." His decision put himself, his passenger and the public at risk, Mr Taylor said.
From the information he had, his officers acted properly and were simply doing the job expected of them.
Senior Sergeant Maggie Windle yesterday said the police serious crash unit had completed its scene examination and Invercargill CIB has conducted a preliminary interview with the driver, who was fully licensed.
Mr Taylor said there were other cars and pedestrians on the route followed during the incident and he urged witnesses to contact Invercargill police.
It was the second attempted police evasion in the south in less than 24 hours.
On Friday afternoon a 24-year-old Christchurch man was clocked travelling at 148kmh on his motorcycle on State Highway 1, south of Milton.
Police turned to apprehend him, switching on lights and sirens but the man did not stop and, after a pursuit of about a 1km, he failed to take a right-hand bend and crashed into a ditch.
He suffered moderate chest injuries and was flown to Dunedin Hospital as a precautionary measure and is likely to face charges of dangerous driving and failing to stop.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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